The last round before the final at The Spirits Business Lunch in December, the theme this time is Classic Whiskey with a Twist, using Jameson’s.
THE ANTICIPATION is palpable. Waiting with baited breath for bartender Ziggy from Drake & Morgan’s The Drift in Bishopsgate, London, to knock up the first of 10 of the last round of the Swizzle Masters, the judges have mixed feelings about this round.
“We’re looking for people to really harness the flavour of the whisky, because, ultimately, that’s the point of a whisky cocktail”, explained The Spirits Business’ Alan Lodge, who was on the judging panel.
The other judges were D&M’s Neil Mitchell and the famous Swizzle Master.
The shortlist of cocktails that would be made had piqued the judges’ interest, although not without a certain amount of misgivings.
“A few of these look like simple whiskey classics with a very slight alteration,” explained the Swizzle Master. “Sometimes that can make all the difference, but it takes a real streak of genius to make that difference with a minimal change. We’re looking for some imagination and creativity, something that really brings out the whiskey.”
Some of the recipes called for all sorts of interesting odds and ends, proving tricky to acquire in the first instance; the main culprit being cherries. Where on earth can you source cherries in late October in England? Not even the almighty Swizzle Master was able to enlighten us on that one. Considering the cherries were required only for a garnish – which included lime, grapefruit, orange and mint, along with that cherry – we decided to settle with a glacé alternative.
Some of the cocktails did, unfortunately, confirm the Swizzle Master’s fears, and were either too unoriginal, or drowned the whiskey.
Some, on the other hand, gave the SM a run for his money, but ultimately, the Swizzle Master prevailed.
The close runners up were Mladen with their Fashion Men, and Simon Galbavy with his Gravedigger.
The winner, the Swizzle Master’s ‘One for Luck’, stole the limelight with its exceptional balance, soft aromas with gentle fruit but a distinct whiskey bite.
One for Luck
15ml Elderflower syrup
15ml Wenneker Marasquin
3 dashes Angostura bitters
15ml Orange juice
Shake all the ingredients together and strain into a coupe.
Garnish with a thin twist of orange.